Whether by distance learning or ‘in-house’, a global health education (GHE) in the UK is going to cost you a pretty penny. But how much, and does it pay to shop around? I’ve recently been involved in a review of GHE in the UK. With some colleagues from Simon Fraser University, we reviewed all UG and PG global health programmes on offer at UK institutions for the period 2013-14. Almost as an afterthought, we tabulated the cost of each programme.
We identified 14 institutions offering between them 24 Masters level programmes. There are at least two more institutions now offering an MSc in global health (both the University of Durham and the University of Southampton are offering global health programmes for the first time in 2015).
Institution Programme title Home fees (£) (2013/14) (per annum unless otherwise indicated) International fees (£) (2013/14) (per annum unless otherwise indicated) Method of teaching
Brighton and Sussex Medical School MSc Global Health 5900 16200 FF
Imperial College MPH Global Health 9000 28500 FF
King's College London MSc Global Health and Social Justice 8250 16500 FF
MSc Global Health 8250 16500 FF
London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine (LSHTM) MSc Global Health Policy 11650 (2-5yrs) 11650 (2-5 yrs) DL
MSc Nutrition for Global Health 8200 19250 FF
LSHTM & King’s College London MSc Global Mental Health 9000 22000 FF
Queen Margaret University MSc in Global Health Systems 6510 12920 FF
MSc Human Resources for Global Health 6510 12920 FF
Queen Mary University MSc in Global Health, Law, and Governance 6000 10000 FF
MSc in Global Public Health and Policy 6000 10000 FF
MSc in Health Systems and Global Policy 6000 10000 FF
University College London MSc in Global Health and Development 7750 15500 FF
MSc in Global Health and Development (tropEd stream) 7750 15500 FF
University of Aberdeen MSc Global Health and Management 3400 12000 FF
University of Chester MSc Global Health 6615 10000 FF
University of Dundee MSc in Global Health and Wellbeing 800 per 30 credit module,
1,600 per 60 credit module, 1,260 for dissertation
2,040 per 30 credit module,
4,080 per 60 credit module,
2,865 for dissertation
University of Edinburgh MSc Global Health & Infectious Diseases 3770 3770 DL
MSc Global Health & Non-Communicable Diseases 3770 3770 DL
MSc Global Health and Public Policy 10100 13700 FF
University of Glasgow MSc Global Mental Health 5000 16500 FF
MSc Global Health 5000 13000 FF
University of Manchester MPH Public Health (optional 'specialist plan' global health) 6500 11000 DL
University of Oxford MSc in Global Health Sciences 11920 28100 FF
As you can see from the table, the University of Oxford charges the most for its masters programme (£11,920), the University of Aberdeen the least (£3,400), and there’s a range of charges in between. So, it does pay to shop around. The amount of money UK institutions charge international students to study global health is eye-watering – with Imperial College just pipping Oxford for the top slot (£28,500), although there are a few significantly cheaper options available (why not go to Barts – a snip at just £10000). Distance learning can also cut the costs significantly, with a number of affordable programmes under £5k (both the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Edinburgh are making great strides on the DL front, though charge quite different fees – £11650 compared to £3770).
How times have changed, and not for the good. From a personal perspective, I can scarcely believe that anyone would stump up such vast sums to study here. I’m certain that I wouldn’t. I was fortunate and stumbled upon the Open University as a route back to earning a degree after a failed attempt at becoming a lawyer. In the early 1990s, the OU provided a subsidy for students on a low income, the effect being that I paid the princely sum of £60 a year for five years to study with them. In those days, distance learning was regarded as an affordable option for people on a low wage who wanted a higher education but couldn’t give up the day job. Today, the OU still believes “cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential“, but a typical programme of six 60 credit courses will now set you back £15,792. If you are on a low income (less than £25,000 a year), the OU may grant you an introductory access course gratis, and give you some help with travel. 25 years on, I’m immensely grateful to the OU for their generous support, and I’m proud to be an OU graduate. I continue to hold the institution in high regard but it, like all higher education institutions, has moved with the times and is now charging their students a hefty sum to study with them. I struggle to justify those fees.